Derailed (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
by Mary Keliikoa

About Derailed

Derailed (A Kelly Pruett Mystery)
Mystery/Cozy Mystery
1st in Series
Publisher: Epicenter Press (May 12, 2020)
Paperback: 232 pages
ISBN-10: 1603817069
ISBN-13: 978-1603817066
Digital ASIN: B084XX4C9D

A dying wish. A secret world.
Can this grieving investigator stay on the right track?


PI Kelly Pruett is determined to make it on her own. And juggling clients at her late father’s detective agency, a controlling ex, and caring for a deaf daughter was never going to be easy. She takes it as a good sign when a letter left by her dad ties into an unsolved case of a young woman struck by a train.


Hunting down the one person who can prove the mysterious death was not just a drunken accident, Kelly discovers this witness is in no condition to talk. And the closer she gets to the truth the longer her list of sleazy suspects with murderous motives grows. Each clue exposes another layer of the victim’s steamy double life.


Can Kelly pinpoint the murderer, or is she on the fast track to disaster?
If you like intricate family dynamics, secrets, including plot twists and turns, then this story is for you. DER AILED is the first book in the Kelly Pruett Mystery series.


Author Interview

What initially got you interested in writing?

I’d always loved to read, and in particular, took an interest in mysteries in my early twenties. But it wasn’t until I was in my late 20s when a co-worker and I decided to write a book during our lunch hours. While that book didn’t sell, I had the writing bug and went on to write pretty consistently for about 8 years. During that time I wrote a short story that was published and three additional novels. The last one I wrote in 1999 I set aside and then took a 15 year break to start a company. When the company sold, I was 50 and yearning to get back to my writing. So I brushed off that last manuscript, and Derailed is what has recently been published.


What genres do you write in?

Mystery and in particular PI is what I’m writing in currently. But I have a love of psychological suspense as well.


What drew you to writing these specific genres?

I spent 18 years in the legal field, so I was drawn to anything to do with the law and investigation in general. In my early twenties, I found Mary Higgins Clark, Faye Kellerman, J.A. Jance, Patricia Cornwell and Janet Evanovich and I was hooked. When I decided to write a book, mystery was just the natural choice. But my time spent in the legal field, working with lawyers, the occasional private investigator, and being around law enforcement and courthouses, sealed for me the direction I would go in the mystery genre.


How did you break into the field?

My first break came when I sold a short mini-mystery to Woman’s World. That was the start of feeling I might be good enough. But it wasn’t until I entered an online contest called Pitch Wars ten years later that I began to break into the novel writing field. I was one of 130 chosen out of 2000 to be mentored by a published author. That opportunity allowed me to hone my novel and get it ready to query agents. It would take nearly a year of querying before the agent call came and another year before the book deal was sealed.


What do you want readers to take away from reading your works?

Ultimately, I write stories about overcoming obstacles and adversities. Whether they are the ones my characters have created for themselves, or have been placed in front of them like solving a case where the killer wants to keep the truth hidden. I’m hoping in the end my readers will find my characters relatable, and take away a love for the them despite their flaws and weaknesses. And of course I hope they celebrate their victories.


What do you find most rewarding about writing?

I find that working through some of my own misbeliefs as I create characters that work through their misbeliefs is very rewarding. And when a scene comes together, and the story line works, it’s exhilarating. But I have to admit, having a reader reach out and tell me how much they enjoyed the story, or related to the characters, keeps me smiling for days!


What do you find most challenging about writing?

Creating those story lines and making sure they weave together can be a challenge. Also, the actions of the characters have to stem out of who they are. It would be far easier to have a character do something because it’s convenient to the story. But that will never work. The action has to match the character that has been developed and that can be challenging.


What advice would you give to people wanting to enter the field?

Hone your craft and keep writing. It’s really the only way to improve, and the only way to gain confidence. And wear rejection like a badge. It’s going to happen. Be prepared for it. Just don’t stop because of it. Use whatever advice you’re given to keep getting better.


What type of books do you enjoy reading?

I love a variety of genres, but of course, mystery and suspense is what I read the most. In particular, I choose books that have a rich tapestry of family and characterization. I want to jump into the world of the book and get to know everyone. If it’s only plot driven with no character development, I don’t generally feel engaged.


Is there anything else besides writing you think people would find interesting about you?

I love to travel. I have a mile-long list of places I want to go. And I never go anywhere without wondering where to hide a body. I’m pretty sure my friends and family don’t know what to make of that 😊


What are the best ways to connect with you, or find out more about your work?

My website, has everything there, and joining my newsletter gets you the most access to sales, new releases, and giveaways that are coming. Thank you for having me!











About Mary Keliikoa

Mary Keliikoa spent the first 18 years of her adult life working around lawyers. Combining her love of all things legal and books, she creates a twisting mystery where justice prevails. She has had a short story published in Woman’s World and is the author of the PI Kelly Pruett Mystery Series.

At home in Washington, she enjoys spending time with her family and her writing companions/fur-kids. When not at home, you can find Mary on a beach on the Big Island where she and her husband recharge. But even under the palm trees and blazing sun she’s plotting her next murder—novel that is.

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July 22 – The Pulp and Mystery Shelf – AUTHOR INTERVIEW

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